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More Shrooms, please (the edible legal kind).

By: Feli Musing

Photo by: Mother Earth Mushrooms

Mushrooms have been getting a bad rap for as long as I can remember.  It took a white button mushroom omelet, and an oven roasted hen of the woods intervention to spark my own infatuation with mushrooms.  They’re really not as bad as some may think.  Overall, mushrooms can be quite beneficial and delicious.  From button mushrooms to shiitakes, the umami packed beauties can provide a number of health benefits and flavor enhancing possibilities.

Here are some of the remarkable health benefits:

1. Antioxidant rich mushrooms have been used to enhance the immune system for centuries. Selenium and Ergothioneine are two of the antioxidants that make mushrooms a winning addition to any meal.  Think of drafting mushrooms to your defensive line to help protect your cells against damage.

2. As a great source of vitamins and nutrients such as a plethora of B vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin D, copper, potassium, and niacin, mushrooms are a plant-based way to incorporate more of these nutrients into your diet. Your brain, nerves, and skin will thank you.

3. Fruits and mushrooms have a similar effect on your body due to their fiber content. Your toilet may not thank you, but your intestines certainly will.

4. Many mushrooms contain anti-inflammatory propertiesTo say the least, inflammation never meets any of us with pleasantries.

5. You may have already heard of how meaty the flavor and texture of mushrooms are. Well, unlike the animal proteins we may consume, mushrooms are low-fat, yet satiating.  Mushrooms are equally tasty on their own, and with vegetable or animal products.  For some mushroom inspiration, take a gander at the following savory mushrooms recipe I developed for mushroom lovers and mushroom novices alike.  As a plus, it is vegetarian friendly.


Ingredients for Savory Mushrooms

Yield: About 2 servings

  • 1 shallot
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 scallion (only the green portion)
  • 3 sprigs of thyme (only the leaves)
  • ¼ of a scotch bonnet pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon ground pimento seeds “ground allspice”
  • 1 tablespoon reduced sodium tamari or low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Optional:
    • ½ cup chopped walnuts (raw or dry roasted for garnishing)

Directions

  1. Fill a medium to large bowl with water and place your cremini mushrooms into the water to wash them. Be sure to use your hands to remove any dirt from the mushrooms.  Discard murky water after cleaning the mushrooms.
  2. Remove the cremini mushrooms from the water and place them on a kitchen towel, gently folding the kitchen towel over the mushrooms to absorb excess water. Once adequately dry, slice mushrooms and set aside.
  3. Roughly chop shallot, garlic cloves, scallion, and scotch bonnet pepper. Remove thyme leaves from the stems.
  4. Heat olive oil in a shallow pan, then add chopped aromatics (shallot, garlic, scallion, and scotch bonnet pepper), thyme leaves, and ground pimento seeds to the pan and sauté on low-medium heat until fragrant. I used a 10-inch stainless steel pan, but any shallow pan will do.
  5. Add sliced mushrooms to the pan with the fragrant aromatics and stir.  Cook on medium heat until mushrooms begin to release juices and reduce in size.
  6. Add reduced sodium tamari to the pan and stir to incorporate, allowing mushroom mixture to cook for upwards of 30 more seconds.
  7. Add the ground black pepper to the pan and stir once more. Mushrooms should be juicy and fragrant at this point.
  8. Safety first!  Turn off the stove.
  9. This step is optional. Place walnuts in a dry shallow pan on low to medium heat and toss around the pan with a spoon or rubber spatula until golden brown and adequately toasted.  Nuts toast quickly on the stovetop, so be attentive so that they don’t burn.  Remove the toasted nuts and set aside until you’re ready to use them.  Use as a crunchy garnish.  Raw nuts can also be used, but toasted nuts have added flavor and crunch.

But wait, there’s more!  These savory mushrooms make a tasty wrap.  I often use a low-carb option like Mission Carb Balance tortillas.  I usually add herb mayo, any greens I have on hand, along with red vegetables like tomatoes (technically categorized as fruits) or red bell peppers.  Here’s a tip, add some green seasoning to regular mayonnaise or vegan mayo for added flavor if you don’t have any herb mayo.  Walnuts, almonds, cashews, or pumpkin seeds are the perfect addition for extra crunch and protein.

You can enjoy your savory mushrooms with quinoa, brown rice, or whole grain pasta, on avocado toast, in a salad, or any other way you’d like.  The possibilities are endless.  Seet deh! (There it is!)

Give mushrooms a try and let me know how you like them.  Until next time, walk good (stay safe).